Elisabeth Schäfer
Language Arts, Language Arts
2022S, scientific seminar (SEW), 4.0 ECTS, 2.0 semester hours, course number S04203



Writing always addresses – at least in part – something or someone. It has an address. At the same time, there is also another movement in writing, which is sometimes negated because it is all too often considered too quiet an activity. Yet texts have been and continue to be destroyed. People who write are forbidden this practice. People who write are not only censored, they are often persecuted and their very existence is threatened. So there is something that can be dangerous in writing. Writing can turn against something, be resistant practice. "Revolution is not artistic, but art can be revolutionary." With these words, French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy concluded a 2012 panel discussion at Berlin's Behnisch Building on Pariser Platz. What can apply to art can and must also be taken into consideration for writing. Whether it opposes forgetting, silencing, and erasure, whether it opposes political power structures, imagines another world in the fictional, or ignites itself in opposition to forms of the classical canon, wherever it becomes resistant, writing appeals to a perspective of the fundamental openness and incompleteness of both the process it represents and all processes of the genesis of meaning. It seems to insist that it will go on and on. It wants to initiate a movement without a goal, and in doing so, it does not want to remain arbitrary, but to tackle the final, the dead, the fixed.

In this THEORY – AND – WORKSHOP ("theory" is workshop in the sense of thinking that cannot be concluded; "practice" is also a workshop in which doing continues; and in the sense of being with, workshop is to be understood in the sense of incessant having to act in a divided world) we deal with three central fields in which writing shows itself as a practice of resistance:

Witnessing: writing as resistance to forgetting (Literatur: Maurice Blanchot: Die Schrift des Deasters; Jacques Derrida: Feuer und Asche; Salmen Gradowski: Die Zertrennung).

System critique: writing as resistance against political structures and conditions (Literatur: Cécile Wajsbrot: Zerstörung; Elfriede Jelinek: Stecken, Stab und Stangl; Agota Kristof: Die Analphabetin; Audre Lorde: Sister Outsider; Paul B. Preciado: Mein Körper exsistiert nicht).
The dangerous "as if" of fictionality: writing invents itself and another imaginary in fictionality (Literatur: Hélène Cixous/ Cécile Wajsbrot: Eine deutsche Autobiographie; Clarice Lispector: Die Passion nach G.H.; Etel Adnan: Im Herzen des Herzens eines anderen Landes; Etel Adnan: Schreiben in einer fremden Sprache; Paul B. Preciado: Das kontrasexuelle Manifest)
Interrogating the Canon: Writing as Resistance to Aesthetic Tradition (Literatur: Jacques Derrida: Diese seltsame Institution genannt Literatur; Hélène Cixous: Post-Word; Werner Hamacher: 95 Thesen zur Philologie; Felix Ensslin: Immer zu früh, immer zu spät: Zur Unzeit des richtigen Zeitpunkts).

The theoretical focus of the course is philosophical, queer-feminist, and artistic-research. The texts mentioned will be placed on the base of the Institute for Language Arts. The course instructor will give input (introduction + background) on the reading, we will read selected passages together and question what we have read. In short: The texts are our companions. They can inspire us to question our own writing for its address and those moments where it turns against something, where it becomes a practice of resistance.

Students will gain insight into central philosophical and queer-feminist thematic fields of the 20th and 21st centuries, aesthetic as well as ethical discourses. In addition, productive questioning of what has been read, heard, and discussed, as well as conversational skills in inter- and transdisciplinary contexts will be tested. Participants in the THEORY–AND–WORKSHOP also work continuously on their own texts.  


Examination Modalities

Regular attendance, dedicated participation, submission of an essay (or text of other form) of approximately 5 pages at the end of the semester.

Key Words

Schreiben, queer-feministische Philosophie, Philosophie, künstlerische Forschung


18 March 2022, 10:00–13:00 Seminar Room 10
01 April 2022, 10:00–13:00 Seminar Room 10
29 April 2022, 10:00–13:30 Seminar Room 10
13 May 2022, 10:00–13:30 Seminar Room 10
20 May 2022, 10:00–13:30 Seminar Room 10
03 June 2022, 10:00–13:30 Seminar Room 10
10 June 2022, 10:00–13:30 Seminar Room 10
24 June 2022, 10:00–13:30 Seminar Room Language Arts

Course Enrolment

From 29 January 2022, 09:00 to 22 February 2022, 23:59
Via online registration

Co-registration: possible

Attending individual courses: possible